The first four levels of the WSOP Tournament of Champions resulted in only five eliminations. John Juanda was the first to fall when he ran into Jennifer Harman's set of jacks and he was followed out the door by Barry Shulman, Greg Raymer, Sam Farha, and eight-time bracelet winner Phil Ivey, who became short-stacked early, ran it back up to 33,000 and busted out a short time later.
Erik Seidel (72,075), Johnny Chan (71,325) and Mike Matusow (70,575) more than doubled their starting stacks today and finished the day 1-2-3 atop the leaderboard. Needing to do a bit of work and catch a few cards are Annie Duke (12,500), Joe Cada (12,125) and Doyle Brunson (10,200).
Action will continue tomorrow at 12 p.m. PDT. The plan is to play another four levels. We do hope you join us again.
For all of us at PokerNews, that's a wrap from the Rio.
Action has been somewhat unspectacular at the table in the red section since Erik Seidel moved into the lead, so please enjoy these chip counts rather than hear about the limping and folding going on at the table right now.
Phil Hellmuth just keeps folding away. He was doing a better job of conserving his stack when he wasn't here. In the latest of five or six hands to end with a tank-fold, Hellmuth raised to 700 under the gun. Mike Matusow and Mike Sexton both called. They checked around the flop. On the turn, Mike Sexton bet 1,400, and only Hellmuth called. The river paired the board with the . Sexton overbet the pot, putting 8,000 out there. And two minutes later, Hellmuth folded.
The next hand, he and Mike Sexton both checked a flop. The turn was the , and Sexton check-called Hellmuth's 1,200 bet. Then Sexton bet out 2,000 on the river. "What the f*%k? Am I getting cheated or something?" Hellmuth said as he folded another one.
He's got another 15,000 left to fold the next hand.
T.J. Cloutier opened for 1,150 from early position and Joe Hachem reraised to 3,350 from the small blind. Cloutier called and they saw a flop. Hachem led out for 5,250 and Cloutier called. The turn came the and Hachem bet enough to set Cloutier all-in for his remaining 21,275. After a long think, Cloutier open-folded his .
Hachem showed him the same hand and raked in the pot. The Aussie is up to 64,525 and is the chip leader here at the featured table.
Doyle Brunson opened for 825, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier called, Daniel Negreanu called and Antonio Esfandiari came along as well.
The flop came down . Negreanu checked to Esfandiari, who bet 2,750. Brunson folded, Grospellier called, and Negreanu folded. Heads-up to the turn, which fell the . Esfandiari checked and Grospellier checked behind. The river was the and Esfandiari led out for 4,200. Grospellier made the call.
Esfandiari showed for two pair, but Grospellier had the better two with and took down the pot.
Chris Ferguson raised to 800 under the gun and it folded right around to Erik Seidel in the big blind who made the call.
Seidel initially checked the flop, but when Ferguson bet 1,200 he raised to 3,000. Ferguson called.
Seidel checked again on the turn and Ferguson now checked behind. When they got to the river Seidel bet out 4,000 and Ferguson called - only to muck when Seidel turned over for a rivered top pair.
Seidel - now the table leader on 76,000
Ferguson - back down to 37,000
Seeing as it's Erik Seidel who is holding up the restart of the PLO8 - where 21 players remain and Seidel is the second-shortest stack - it's good to know he might get something for all the trouble.
Phil Hellmuth raised to 800 under the gun, and Scotty Nguyen flatted. Mike Sexton called in the big blind, and they went three-handed to the flop. All three checked to the turn. Sexton checked again, and Hellmuth bet 1,400. Nguyen raised it up to 6,400. Sexton folded, and Hellmuth tank-called. Phil checked the river, and Nguyen fired 15,000. Hellmuth thought for a minute or two while Mike Matusow berated him for taking so long to make every decision. Finally, he folded, saying he was mucking king-jack. Nguyen showed the . "Ten-high, baby."